Pregnancy can change a relationship in a number of ways. If you’re the one carrying the child, you’re likely to be riding a hormonal rollercoaster—especially if the pregnancy was a surprise.
Unexpected pregnancies are linked to a higher chance of postpartum depression. But it turns out, how involved a father is in a child’s life can also depend on whether or not a new baby was planned.
One woman’s partner decided the solution to an unplanned pregnancy was to pretend it isn’t happening. In a viral post shared to Mumsnet, user Numallgoff shared how her partner’s reaction to their unplanned pregnancy is making her miserable.
She wrote: “I’m 25 and he is 10 years older than me, we have a son each from previous relationships and our family blends well. His son only stays for the summer and my son is away at weekends with his Dad.
“We wanted kids together but this baby wasn’t planned (contraceptive failure) and we were in shock.”
The woman explained that until the surprise pregnancy, she, her partner, and their children from previous relationships seemed settled.
At first, her partner didn’t take the news of the pregnancy well, but after a week he seemed to be “coming around” to the idea. Still, he refuses to help Numallgoff around the house or get involved with the pregnancy.
She continued: “I understand he may not be thrilled as he is currently unemployed (job lost due to covid) and looking for work so is worried about money but it’s really frustrating me how he won’t help around the house.
“I do all the cleaning and cooking, he expects me to make him coffee all day, do the shopping alone, do the school run. I’m 10 weeks but I’m absolutely shattered this time round.
“If I say i’m feeling tired or sore he ignores me. He hasn’t mentioned the pregnancy since we had a chat like 2 weeks ago and agreed to support each other.
“It feels so awkward talking about the pregnancy when he’s acting like it’s not happening. He’s even been asking me to rub HIS back in bed a lot which I found odd.
“I’m starting to feel like he dislikes the fact he should really be looking out for me a bit more and is trying to turn the attention onto himself.”
She also revealed that her partner had refused to share the news with his family.
She added: “We’re very close with his family and he hasn’t even asked me about sharing the news. Again, he acts like it’s not even happening. I feel overwhelmed, alone and upset.
“Has anyone else had to deal with this strange behaviour? Should I just push past the awkwardness and talk to him about the pregnancy anyway? And I reasonable for wanting maybe a little bit more help at the moment.”
A 2019 study showed that one in five couples split up within the first year of having a baby, usually around the six-month mark.
A quarter of couples surveyed admitted that their relationship problems began before the baby was born, but were exasperated when faced with sleepless nights and less time alone together.
The post received more than 90 responses from Mumsnet users offering advice and commiserations to Numallgoff, with layladomino saying: “You deserve better. Your child deserves a better set-father figure than this lazy one, and your unborn child deserves better.
“You can start making a change now. Stop running around after him. You aren’t his servant or housekeeper. Share the chores so you have the same downtime.
“Ask him if he’s going to step up and be a decent father while you are pregnant and when you have baby. Does he intend to do his fair share?
“His responses may help you form an opinion, but I think he’ll have to make some pretty rapid and significant changes to reassure you he’s going to step up to being a good dad.”
NoSquirrels asked: “If he’s currently unemployed, why do you do all the cooking and cleaning anyway, regardless of pregnancy? Do you work too?
“Is he usually a helpful bloke (I’m betting not). Ten year age gap is quite a lot sometimes in attitude…”
While Luredbyapomegranate commented: “I think you have to assume you will be doing this on your own, so have a think about what’s realistic for you and plan from there.”
And it seems Numallgoff took the advice to heart, posting updates in the comments.
She said: “Reading over the comments it is clear to me I have ridiculously low standards and expectations and have been putting up with this BS for far too long.
“I was a single mother with my 1st child, I am not sure about a termination but with what everyone has pointed out I’m seriously looking at accepting I’ll be on my own with the children.
“Well he spends most of it sleeping in while I’m away getting buses to drop my son to school and when I’m back he spends the rest of the time on the playstation playing games with his son as “its the only way they can bond long distance” (meaning it’s made me feel awkward and that I can’t tell him to cut it down).
“Sigh I should have suspected the fact he would go for someone my age rather than someone in their 30s.”
Numallgoff isn’t the only mum-to-be to share her relationship woes with the internet recently.
The internet recently rallied behind a woman who banned her husband and his controlling mother from the delivery room, and supported a woman who caught her husband cheating less than a day after giving birth.
Reddit users also slammed a dad who expected his wife to take on sole care of their newborn baby every night, reminding him that “parenting isn’t interchangeable.”
Newsweek has contacted Numallgoff for comment.